Today (7-august-2018) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of 2,9 and other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There is also a glacier flood coming from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This has resulted in dangerous levels of Hydrogen sulfide gases close to Múlakvísl glacier river and the police has asked people not to stop in the area due to a risk of gas build up. The Hydrogen sulfide is at lethal levels in some areas where wind cannot move it.
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It was confirmed today (02-August-2018) that glacier flood has started from Skaftárkatlar cauldron. According to the news the GPS monitoring station close the cauldrons started to drop around midnight. Around same time harmonic tremor started to change on nearby SIL stations.
Harmonic tremor on nearby SIL station due to glacier flood. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It can take up to a week for the glacier flood to finish, but that depends on the amount of water in the cauldron that is emptying it self. According to the news the eastern Skaftákatlar cauldron is now emptying it self. It last did so three years ago.
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Glacier flood has started from Grímsvötn volcano. This glacier flood is expected to be small like last few flood that have happened. At this moment I am not expecting an eruption from Grímsvötn volcano. If an eruption does happen I would not expect it to be a large one.
I’ll update this article or write a new article when I can or if something major happens.
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Icelandic Met Office announced that this morning that the glacier flood from Mýrdalsjökull glacier is now over. No earthquakes have been detected in Katla volcano during the last 12 hours. Conductivity is now going back to normal levels.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Colour code level of Katla volcano remains at yellow level and won’t be changed to green until sometimes next week. While this glacier flood is over Katla volcano has shown that activity can start again without warning. For now Katla volcano is quiet and no glacier flood happening.
This article is going to be updated as activity continues in Katla volcano today on 29-July-2017. If an eruption starts (big one) a new article is going to be written for that event.
Overview of the activity during the night and today
It seems that during the night a minor eruption took place (this is just my view). This based on harmonic tremor pulse that appeared in Katla volcano after midnight, the source of the activity seems to be north-west part of the caldera. Possibly where a magnitude 3,0 earthquake had taken place at 00:48 UTC. Harmonic tremor remains unstable and above background levels, at the moment however it seems that current harmonic tremor when this is written is due to glacier flood pushing it self from under the glacier. The water that is moving under the glacier is few hours away from (at best) from appearing in glacier rivers that come from Katla volcano.
The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor in Austmannsbunga in Katla volcano at 12:09 UTC. It clearly shows the minor eruption and ongoing harmonic tremor pulse. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor in Austmannsbunga in Katla volcano at 13:04 UTC. This image shows ongoing activity in the tremor. This is mostly high frequency tremor and that is interesting. What that is not known. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor in Goðabunga at 12:09 UTC. It clearly shows the night minor eruption and ongoing harmonic tremor. The harmonic tremor is however a lot less visible now on Goðabunga. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor as it appears on Rjúpnafell (SIL station). This station is at more distance from the source of the harmonic tremor pulse and shows a weaker signal as a result. The night minor eruption is also clear on this SIL station but current harmonic tremor is less visible, it does appear but at much lower level. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Katla volcano has been moved to yellow alert. It is now possible to watch the glacier flood live from here (Rúv.is). Currently the glacier flood is getting smaller, but that might only be a temporarily thing if more water is on its way from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. There has also been a drop in conductivity for now in Múlavísk glacier river.
Announcement in English on Rúv
People advised to stay away from Múlakvísl (Rúv.is)
This article is going to be updated as needed today.
It was confirmed at around 22:00 UTC that a small glacier flood has now started from Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Katla volcano). At the moment the glacier flood is small. It is unclear if this glacier flood is going to remain small and run it course as it is or if it is going to increase in next few hours. Reports have been coming of strong sulphur smell in the area of Múlakvísl on Mýrdalssand area (desert area south of Mýrdalsjökull glacier).
Civil protection authority in Iceland have closed down few tourist roads and limited access to certain areas for time being due to this glacier flood. I strongly recommend that people follow those closers since change can happen in Katla volcano without warning and the closer people are to the volcano the less time they have to get away from it if an eruption starts.
This article is going to be updated as needed.
Icelandic Met Office has issued a warning about increased risk of glacier flood from Múlakvísl that comes from Mýrdalsjökull glacier (the glacier on top of Katla volcano). Upon checking reports about increased smell and detecting higher conductivity on sensors, police in the area have confirmed with Icelandic Met Office that unusual high amount of water is in the river at the moment.
Currently conductivity in Múlakvísl is 290μS/cm and is stable at the moment. This suggest that a cauldron is about to empty it self of melt water and resulting in a glacier flood.
It is possible to monitor conditions in Múlakvísl here on Icelandic Met Office website.
I will update this article as needed.
On the 18th of August 2016 a small glacier flood started from the Grímsfjall volcano caldera lake. This is a tiny glacier flood according to the news, with the glacier on top of the lake only having dropped around 5 meters so far.
Minor glacier flood as it appears on Grímsfjall volcano SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
This glacier flood is going into Gígjukvísl glacier river, at the moment Iceland Met Office doesn’t think there is any major danger from this glacier flood. The biggest risk at the moment is from volcano gases that have dissolved into the water and get released when the pressure drops of the water. The glacier water is already in Gígukvísl glacier river, no major changes are expected in that river due to how small this glacier flood is.
Lítið jökulhlaup hafið úr Grímsvötnum (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Jökulhlaup hafið úr Grímsvötnum (mbl.is, Icelandic)
A small glacier flood started from Mýrdalsjökull glacier few days ago. The most risk is from sulphur gases and other gases from the glacier flood that might be concentrated in lower areas. There is also a minor risk of the flood destroying walking path bridges in the area it goes over. This glacier flood might go into Emstruá river and there is the risk of destroying walking path bridges in the area. No other risk is expected from this minor glacier flood from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This is a normal summer release of hydrothermal water from the glacier. Happens every other year and sometimes every year.
Few days ago a glacier flood started from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Due to how short time it is since last time glacier flood took place from the western cauldron a major glacier flood is not expected. No damage is also not expected from this glacier flood due to how small it is.
Harmonic tremor disturbance due to the glacier flood from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
When the water pressure is released from the hydrothermal area that powers this cauldron, a spike in harmonic tremor is normally seen on nearby SIL station. The reason for this is unclear, with leading ideas that magma moves in the hydrothermal system when the pressure drops. The image above shows such harmonic tremor spike taking place at Jökulheimar SIL station. Eruption is not expected to happen due to this glacier flood, what happens is impossible to know for sure. Normally nothing more than just harmonic tremor spike happens.